How Long Does It Take to Become a Nurse Practitioner

3 minute read

If you are looking to pursue a career in the medical field, it’s likely that you’ve explored the possibility of becoming a nurse practitioner. But what exactly is a nurse practitioner? Not to be confused with a registered nurse (RN), a nurse practitioner (NP) is considered to be an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). 

This position requires a master’s degree, specialized training, and more. You may be wondering, “How long does it take to become a nurse practitioner?”

The length of time it takes to become an RP depends on your current education level. Becoming a nurse practitioner can be a time-consuming process. With that in mind, it can be highly rewarding in a myriad of ways.

This article will give insight into what a nurse practitioner does as well as what it takes to become one. 

What Does a Nurse Practitioner Do?

Nurse practitioners are considered to be a well-respected part of the medical community. Viewed as experts within the field, they are often compensated well and have a level of flexibility that others within the field don’t have. While this may be true, the position requires a lot of time, investment, and commitment. 

Some of the responsibilities of a nurse practitioner include:

  • Ordering, performing, and analyzing a variety of different diagnostic tests
  • Diagnosing health ailments 
  • Coming up with individual treatment plans, answering questions, and offering clear, concise instructions to patients
  • Recommending and prescribing medications (this may vary depending on the state)
  • Teaching patients about their particular health conditions
  • Offering solutions such as lifestyle changes
  • Suturing wounds and other medical procedures
  • Counseling patients physically and emotionally

Since NPs are in such high demand, there are many different settings available for nurse practitioners. This includes nursing homes, clinics, hospitals, urgent care sites, emergency rooms, schools, retail clinics, and much more. 

Nurse practitioners are also qualified to open up their own practice. The average salary is roughly $120,000 per year.

What it Takes to Become a Nurse Practitioner

It may take 6 to 10 years to become a nurse practitioner. This is because individuals must earn a bachelor’s degree along with a master’s and/or doctoral degree in nursing. For most, this is a major investment financially as well. 

Step One: Bachelor’s Degree

The most common path to becoming a nurse practitioner starts with earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). It is also possible to enter a graduate program without a BSN. 

Step Two: Become a Registered Nurse

Becoming a Registered nurse means additional education. This may be through an associate degree program, an accredited nursing program, or a BSN. 

Once you have met the required education level, you must take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam. It may be wise to contact the nursing regulatory body to ensure that you qualify to take this exam based on your schooling. Remember that qualifications vary depending on the state. 

Step Three: Master’s Degree and/or a Doctorate Degree

This may take between 2 and 6 years to complete, depending on the route you take. The three possible options are a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP), or both. 

The purpose of these degrees is to offer individuals deeper, more expansive knowledge that will be critical for their career as a nurse practitioner. Deciding to go the Doctorate route or obtaining both a Master’s and Doctorate will likely offer more lucrative career opportunities in the long term. 

Step Four: Become a Licensed Nurse Practitioner

Before practicing, you must take and pass either the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) exam or the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) exam. These tests have slightly different focuses, but both prepare individuals for the job. 

Find a Nurse Practitioner Job with CynaMed Today

Are you seeking employment as a nurse practitioner? CynaMed is here for you! Our purpose as a healthcare staffing solutions company is to bring employers and qualified employees together. Whether you are seeking part-time, full-time, short-term, or permanent work, our team is here to assist. 

Ready to get started? Apply today, and you could be working in as little as 24 hours! 

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